Royal Rumble 2014 [VIDEOS]: Top 10 Rumble Winners In WWE History [PHOTOS]
The WWE will present its 27th Royal Rumble pay-per-view tomorrow night live from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Since its inception in 1988, the 30-man over-the-top-rope Royal Rumble match has been a highlight of wrestling fans on the WWE's calendar. The stakes were raised even higher in 1993 when the tradition of having the winner of the match go on to face the WWE Champion at WrestleMania began.
Before the road to WrestleMania XXX begins on Sunday, let's take a look back at the Top 10 wins in Royal Rumble history and if the winners of the match were successful when they went on to WrestleMania in pursuit of championship gold...
10) 2002-"The Game" Triple H Wins From No.22:
Triple H made his triumphant return to the WWE after missing eight months due to an injury and announced that he would be participating in the 2002 Royal Rumble match. Triple H looked bigger than ever when he came in at No.22. "The Game" last eliminated Kurt Angle to win the match and cap off his amazing comeback. While it was a predictable finish and the match itself was okay, "The Game" looked impressive in notching his trip to WrestleMania.
WrestleMania: Triple H went on to defeat Chris Jericho for the Undisputed Championship at WrestleMania X-8.
9) 2007-The Undertaker:Is The First To Win From No.30
The Undertaker had done it all in the WWE heading into the 2007 Royal Rumble, but he was never able to win the 30-man match itself. Undertaker had an impressive WrestleMania undefeated streak going and multiple World Titles under his belt, but the dead man had never conquered the elimination match. Taker won his first Rumble and became the first man to ever win it from No.30. The match was capped off with an amazing ending sequence between Taker and Shawn Michaels that saw the dead man get the better of him and win the match.
WrestleMania: The Undertaker went on to defeat Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 23.
8) 2000-The Rock Wins The People's Rumble From No.24:
The Rock was setting the world on fire in the WWE in 2000 and seemed destined to win the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, especially in the absence of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. "The Brahma Bull" cited such opponents as Crash Holly and Headbanger Mosh as tough competition, and ended up outlasting them all before eliminating The Big Show in controversial fashion to cash in his first and only Royal Rumble win.
WrestleMania: The Rock went on to lose at WrestleMania 2000 when Triple H defeated him, Mick Foley and The Big Show in a fatal four-way match.
7) 2003-Brock Lesnar Continues A Dominant First Year By Winning From No.29:
Since his debut in 2002, Brock Lesnar was billed as "The Next Big Thing" and he showed exactly why in his first year with the company. Lesnar won the King of the Ring tournament in June 2002 and defeated The Rock to capture his first WWE Championship at SummerSlam that August. He continued his dominance by winning his first ever Royal Rumble match by beating The Big Show earlier on to get into the match and then last eliminating The Undertaker.
WrestleMania: Lesnar went on to cap off his great year by defeating Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XIX.
6) 1995-Shawn Michaels Becomes The First Man To Win From No.1:
In 1995, Shawn Michaels was the first one in and the last man standing. This feat would rate higher had the talent pool in 1995 not been so thin and if the match was less rushed. With only one minute intervals between entrances instead of the normal minute-and-a-half or two minute intervals, it didn't seem like longevity was much of a factor. Still, the match was historic as it was the first time Michaels ever earned the right to battle for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. The ending of having Michaels (No.1) and the British Bulldog (No.2) be the first two in and the last two left was smart, as was the ending where Michaels was able to hang on with one foot and then eliminate the Bulldog when he thought he had already won.
WrestleMania: Shawn Michaels lost to Diesel in a match for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XI. Michaels would become the first man since Hulk Hogan to win the Royal Rumble two years a row in 1996 and would eventually win his first WWE Championship from Bret Hart at WrestleMania XII.
5) 2004-Chris Benoit Wins From No.1:
While what happened later on in Chris Benoit's life was terrible, he lasted over an hour in the 2004 Royal Rumble and became the second man to win the match from the No.1 position. He last eliminated The Big Show to win the match. This would rank higher had things not taken a turn. This remains one of the best booked Rumbles of all time, with many conflicts for WrestleMania XX setup throughout the match as Brock Lesnar attacked Goldberg, The Undertaker's gong haunted Kane and of course Benoit won to earn his title shot.
WrestleMania: Benoit went on to defeat Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XX.
4) 2010-Edge Surprises With A Return And Rumble Win From No.29:
Edge shocked everyone by coming back from a six-month hiatus in the Royal Rumble match and immediately made an impact by spearing everyone in the match. The match ultimately boiled down to Edge and John Cena, and Edge was able to get Cena over the top rope and onto the floor to win his first and only Royal Rumble match.
WrestleMania: Edge went on to lose to Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XXVI with the World Heavyweight Championship on the line.
3) 2008-John Cena Makes A Shocking Return And Wins From No.30:
It took 20 events for the No.30 entrant--the last entrant--to ever win the Royal Rumble, but after The Undertaker did it in 2007, John Cena followed up and did the same thing in 2008 making the No.30 entrant win two years in a row. The best part about Cena's win was that in the era of spoilers and internet rumors, no one thought Cena was ready to return from injury, making his appearance in the match and subsequent win a huge shock and one of the best surprises the WWE has been able to pull off in recent years.
WrestleMania: John Cena and Triple H went on to lose to Randy Orton in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XXIV.
2) 1998-"Stone Cold" Steve Austin Kicks Off The Road To The Reign Of 3:16 From No.24:
Even though "Stone Cold" Steve Austin won the Royal Rumble in a surprise as the No.5 entrant in 1997, he never got a title shot out of it and it wasn't until his 1998 victory that he was put on the map. Austin was by far the most popular wrestler and his win was obvious as everyone in the match was booked to be gunning for him, but the win is still historic in that Austin won the match and went on to win his first WWE Championship. This win was the spark that led to the crowning of one of the most popular WWE Superstars in wrestling history's first title win.
WrestleMania: Austin went on to defeat Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XIV to win his first WWE Championship.
1) 1992-Ric Flair Wins The WWE Championship From No.3:
In 1991, Ric Flair emerged in the WWE and called himself "The Real World's Champion," but he was able to prove it in 1992 in what is known as one of the best--if not the best--Royal Rumbles of all-time. With the WWE Championship up for grabs for the first and only time in the Royal Rumble match, it was expected that Hulk Hogan would notch his third consecutive Rumble win and win the belt, however in a shocking twist, Hogan was eliminated by Sid Justice and Flair then pushed Justice out with Hogan to win the match in one of the best finishes to a Rumble match in history. The over-the-top commentary by Flair's associate Bobby "The Brain" Heenan--and the disgust of his partner Gorilla Monsoon--only added to the mystique throughout the match. Best booked Rumble of all-time.
WrestleMania: Ric Flair lost to "Macho Man" Randy Savage to lose the WWE Championship at WrestleMania VIII.
Out of these great moments, six of the superstars went on to win gold at WrestleMania while three other men weren't so lucky and one lost the title. The road to WrestleMania XXX kicks off with the Royal Rumble tomorrow night, and it will be interesting to see how the winner fares at WrestleMania and how the winner ranks on the all-time list going forward.